Sunday, November 23, 2008

Important, And Not So Important, Piles

I'm at a weird point in life where I'm trying to fully become an adult (though I still call and whine to my parents at the first sign of any trouble) and am starting to think about merging households with someone else who recently embraced his full adultness.

So, as I think about moving to B's apartment in May, I'm beginning to cull through my carefully collected piles of "stuff I'll deal with later," "stuff that I might need," and "stuff that maybe looks important." Oh, plus the bills, statements, and work info that I know is important.

What do you keep? How do you file it? I started using Quicken, though I can't figure out how to make it useful to me yet besides making me type in every. transaction. I. make. all. month. Painful, but helpful in seeing how many times I add a new entry to the "Eating Out" category. Yikes.

Right now, I'm thinking of folders. And three-hole punches. Ooh, and labels. I think this is a sign of Type A personality. I'd rather organize the organization than actually get the piles organized. So far we have Medical, Bills (paid), Bank Statements, Investment Information, FSA receipts, Charitable Donations, and Wedding, which gets its own bookshelf at this point.
B says that he keeps his bills, even after they've been paid and the check has cleared, which I guess makes sense. It's a record. But how long do you keep those internet payments to Charter? I know, I know, I should switch to online bill-pay anyway, but I like the check writing part. Sue me.

Anyone else have any great ideas of how they organize their lives? Seriously. The folders and I are ready to take some action. I'd love to find a way that worked for me and B, or at least didn't drive him crazy with unnecessary steps...


Haley Morgan said...

I am the queen of organizing bills, so maybe our Cake Pops party can also be a bill organizing party. You bring the candy melts and credit card statements... haha...

No, seriously, we go by the month. I have a cute checklist in my planner of everything that comes by mail that I actually have to write a check for. When those bills come, I check it off in my planner as soon as I write the check. Then I have a Bill/Mail caddy in the kitchen with everything I need - checkbook, planner, stamps, pens, and a couple cute black damask file folders :) I put ALL the statements in the file folders, even if they are automatic drafts. Then on the last day of the month, my cell phone alarm goes off and tells me to empty the bill folder. I take all the statements, check my bank account to make sure they were indeed all paid, then I file them away in our filing cabinet in Chad's office. Each has its own file (Alabama Power, Netflix, Cingular, etc).

I don't really know why we keep all the statements. I guess you could technically throw them away after a year or so. But anyway, you get the picture. There's probably no easy way. I'm like you, I like writing checks, but once you get married you'll have so many things to think about, you'll want the automatic payments. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

The statute of limitations for tax records is three years. Everyone should keep their statements and bills for that long (at least).